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Clinch Mountain Mystery

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
With a solid core of fine pickers, a handful of guests, and a dozen high-stepping songs, the Larry Stephenson Band shows exactly what it's made of on Clinch Mountain Mystery. This is hard-driving traditional bluegrass, highlighted by Stephenson's high-longsome lead and lots of hot instrumental work. Although the title song is a rather grisly unsolved murder mystery, most of these songs center on the ravages of love gone wrong. At their most lighthearted, they include the nonsensical "Why Don't You Haul Off and Love Me," obviously written before anyone worried about combining images of love and violence in one song. "Someone's Gotta Cry" reminds one of the sort of ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
With a solid core of fine pickers, a handful of guests, and a dozen high-stepping songs, the Larry Stephenson Band shows exactly what it's made of on Clinch Mountain Mystery. This is hard-driving traditional bluegrass, highlighted by Stephenson's high-longsome lead and lots of hot instrumental work. Although the title song is a rather grisly unsolved murder mystery, most of these songs center on the ravages of love gone wrong. At their most lighthearted, they include the nonsensical "Why Don't You Haul Off and Love Me," obviously written before anyone worried about combining images of love and violence in one song. "Someone's Gotta Cry" reminds one of the sort of bluesy song the Osborne Brothers might've sung, while the downhearted "A Heart Never Knows" should be avoided by anyone who's just been cast aside. The real oddity on the album is "Clinch Mountain Mystery," written by Dixie and Tom T. Hall. The song starts typically enough, with the new kid in town running off with a local girl. When she turns up missing, a search party turns over the entire mountainside where, "They found his torn britches and Janice's dress/And it looked like something had chewed on the rest." After noting that body parts had been scattered everywhere, the narrator reveals -- rather unsatisfactorily -- that the mystery was never solved. Despite the sad and occasionally gruesome songs, Clinch Mountain Mystery -- musically speaking -- is an upbeat affair, sure to satisfy anyone addicted to good old-fashioned bluegrass.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/13/2004
  • Label: Pinecastle
  • UPC: 755757113427
  • Catalog Number: 1134

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Larry Stephenson Primary Artist, Mandolin, Vocals, Vocal Harmony, Group Member
Randy Barnes Vocals, Acoustic Bass, Vocal Harmony
Aaron McDaris Banjo, Vocal Harmony, Group Member
Technical Credits
David Parmley Producer
Tom T. Hall Composer
Jimmy Wakely Composer
Johnny Bond Composer
Bill Harrell Composer
Curtis McPeake Composer
Larry Stephenson Composer
Comer "Moon" Mullins Composer
John Eberle Mastering
Randall Hylton Composer
Wayne Raney Composer
Tom Riggs Executive Producer
Roy Self Composer
Don Bowman Composer
Larry Roll Composer
Ben Surratt Engineer
Aaron McDaris Composer
Dreama Stephenson Art Direction, Digital Illustration
Tom Netherland Liner Notes
David Watkins Composer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    "Good, real, honest" music as Larry would say!

    Larry Stephenson has been with the reputable Pinecastle/Webco Record label now for fifteen years so “Clinch Mountain Mystery” is a bit of an anniversary celebration too. At track three, the title cut comes from the pens of Tom T. and Dixie Hall and tells the story of a man and woman who meet a gruesome fate. The Halls also contribute “The Pretty Blue Dress.” A nice choice of material for the likes of Curtis McPeake, Bill Harrell, Wayne Raney, Randall Hylton, Don Bowman, Jimmy Wakely, and others is featured. Larry Stephenson’s own “My Baby Back To Me” closes the project. Besides Larry on mandolin and vocals, the band includes Aaron McDaris (banjo, vocals), Randy Barnes (bass, vocals), and Dustin Benson (harmony vocals on four cuts). Guest musicians include Bryan Sutton (guitar), Bobby Hicks (fiddle, six cuts), and Ronnie Stewart (fiddle, five cuts). Larry Stephenson does a fine job on mandolin, but the instrumental standout on this album is clearly guitarist Bryan Sutton who is the man with drive. Hicks and Stewart are no slouches either, and McDaris’ banjo is mighty proficient. The band’s signature sound, of course, is built around Larry’s high lead tenor, a voice featured on more than a two dozen albums. Besides the title track, Larry also arranges “Those Gone and Left Me Blues” for just solo vocals. Randy Barnes does a fine job singing lead on “I Can’t Bear the Thought of Losing You.” The band offers a couple triple timed songs (A Heart Never Knows, The Pretty Blue Dress), and “Cruzin’ in Overdrive” is a spirited instrumental. “Someone’s Gotta Cry” demonstrates how to play a slow song with excellent precision and timing. I was impressed that the band can interpret high-stepping bluegrass with the same zing as it does with beautiful ballads and contemporary numbers. A minor suggestion might’ve been to also include a gospel number in this set. Hailing originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia, Stephenson now lives in Nashville. He began playing mandolin at age five, and his father was an award-winning musician. Larry’s first band (in high school) was “Larry Stephenson and New Grass.” Over the years, he’s worked with Cliff Waldron, Leon Morris, and Bill Harrell. In 1983, Larry joined The Bluegrass Cardinals, and in 1989 formed his own band. The year 1995 found him making his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, and 1996, brought him induction into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame. Each year, June 23rd is Larry Stephenson Day in Crewe, VA. Stephenson once said that he likes everything about bluegrass, a music he calls “good, real and honest.” And we’d find it difficult to not like everything about his band and this latest album project. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)

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